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What if the Church Lost its Tax Exempt Status?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 6:51 PM Comments (19)

There’s a proposal before the Kansas state Legislature that would repeal the sales tax exemption for religious non-profits and churches.

According to a March 4th legislative alert from the state’s Catholic bishops, House Bill 2549 would require churches and religious non-profit organizations such as Catholic Charities to pay the state’s 5.3 percent sales tax.

The proposal is one before the legislature to make up an approximately $500 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2011. The bill would raise approximately $169 million each year.

Religious organizations are right to call ‘foul.’ The tax bill alone on property owned by the Church would be monstrous. Yet, they may want to consider one potential benefit of the lack of such an exemption. Current laws have frightened many religious entities into being careful about what they say and don’t say about issues and elections, out of fear of losing their tax exempt status. With their tax exempt status gone, religious organizations would have nothing to fear from speaking truth to power. It seems to me that such an arrangement would give religious institutions a lot more freedom.

What do you think? Which is worth more?

Filed under house bill, kansas, legislature, tax exempt status

About Tim Drake

Tim Drake
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Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.